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23.08.2005 Politics

Odododiodoo Town Hall debate ends abruptly

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Accra, Aug. 23, GNA - A Town Hall debate organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) for candidates contesting the August 30 Odododiodoo bye-election in Accra ended abruptly when supporters of Asafoaste Mankattah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, stormed the podium and took him away.

The confusion started when supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Conventional People's Party (CPP) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) heckled Asafoatse Mankattah and made it impossible for him to make his submissions.

Asafoatse Mankattah, who was the last candidate to make his presentation, requested for more time to enable him to table his views but his supporters, who were angered by the behaviour of the parties' supporters of the other parties, invaded the hall and took him away. The supporters returned shortly after and went onto the podium singing.

They ignored attempts by the Police and Miss Theresa Tagoe, Deputy Minister of Mines, to restore order.

Mr Kwesi Jonah, Acting Head, Governance Centre of IEA, expressed disappointment at the behaviour of the supporters.

"This is the first such ugly incident of this nature that has occurred since the inception of the Town Hall debate," he said. He said with such a situation it was likely that the by-election could be marred by horrible incidents and called for an appropriate mechanism to safeguard the August 30 vote.

"I am afraid of massive instability during the by-election because the supporters have gone haywire and cannot be controlled in anyway."

Mr Jonah said he was disappointed that the meeting, which was supported by the European Union, to create a platform for the candidates to present their views and be quizzed by voters, ended in a nightmare. He blamed the attitude of the Party supporters on lack of sufficient education by the relevant authorities on the essence of interacting with aspirants for political offices or any position that required the mandate of the people.

Nii Tackie Komme, NDC Parliamentary candidate, had promised to restore the James Town Port to its past glory when given the nod. He said the port, which used to provide a means of livelihood for the people in the community, had now become a white elephant. Nii Komme also promised to establish an education fund to enhance education in the constituency.

"When I become the MP, I will mobilize all the big time businesses in the constituency to contribute to the fund as part of their social responsibility."

The CPP candidate, Mr Christian Shanko Bruce pledged his full commitment to the cause of the youth, particularly in helping them to unearth their talents by offering them skills training.

"I will embark on serious education drive, institute a scholarship scheme for deserving students and make sure that wealth is created and shared among all."

Nii Collison-Cofie of the DPP said oneness was key to development and that he would work to ensure social cohesion to bring development to the community.

He said recognising the importance of education, his foremost agenda, when given the nod, would be to establish a charity school to provide access to education by the less privileged.

Asafoatse Mankattah on his part said he was taking the baton from his late father and that he was the most suitable candidate to continue with the development projects that he had commenced. "Being a one-time footballer, I will promote soccer and other sporting activities which have permeated the area," he said. 23 Aug. 05

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